Opinion polls show that the Italian right-wing led by Meloni wins the elections

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  • The right-wing bloc will have a majority in the House and Senate
  • Meloni will be the country’s first female prime minister
  • Early voting after the collapse of the Draghi government

ROME (Reuters) – A right-wing coalition led by Georgia Meloni’s Brotherhood of Italy looks set to have a clear majority in the next parliament, polls said on Sunday, after voting in Italy’s national election ended.

If confirmed by polls, it would give Italy the most right-wing government since World War II, and Meloni is expected to become the country’s first female prime minister.

A poll by state broadcaster RAI reported that the conservative party bloc, which also includes Matteo Salvini’s and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, won between 41% and 45%, enough to secure control of both houses of parliament.

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“The center right is clearly ahead in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate! It’s going to be a long night but for now I want to say thank you,” Salvini said on Twitter.

Italian electoral law favors groups that have been able to conclude pre-polling agreements, giving them a huge number of seats compared to the number of their votes.

Ray said the right-wing coalition would win 227-257 of the 400 seats in the lower house of parliament and 111-131 of the 200-seat Senate.

Full results are expected early Monday.

As the leader of the largest party in the winning coalition, Meloni is the obvious choice for prime minister, but the transition of power is traditionally slow and it could take more than a month before a new government is sworn in.

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Meloni, 45, plays down her party’s post-fascist roots as a major conservative group. She has pledged to support Western policy on Ukraine and not take undue risks with the eurozone’s third largest economy.

However, the result is likely to set alarm bells ringing in European capitals and beyond financial marketsIn light of the desire to maintain unity in dealing with Russia and concerns about Italy’s huge mountain of debt.

Low record

The result culminates in a notable rise for Meloni, whose party won just 4% of the vote in the last national election in 2018, but this time it was expected to emerge as the largest group in Italy with around 22-26%.

But it wasn’t a massive endorsement, with provisional data indicating a turnout of just 64.1% versus 74% four years ago – a record low in a country that has historically enjoyed a high level of voter participation.

Italy’s first autumn national election in more than a century erupted into the infighting between parties that toppled Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s broad national unity government in July.

Italy has a history of political instability, and the next prime minister will lead the country’s 68th government since 1946 and face a host of challenges, notably rising energy costs and growing economic headwinds.

The new mini-parliament will not meet until October 13, at which point the head of state will summon the party leaders and decide the form of the new government.

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Additional reporting by Gavin Jones and Giselda Fagnoni. Editing by Keith Weir

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